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Simon De anda, Jr v. Michael J. Astrue

January 24, 2011

SIMON DE ANDA, JR.,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Abrams United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I.

PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff filed this action on April 23, 2010, seeking review of the Commissioner's denial of his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments. The parties filed Consents to proceed before the undersigned Magistrate Judge on May 6, 2010, and May 12, 2010. The parties filed a Joint Stipulation on January 4, 2011, that addresses their positions concerning the disputed issues in the case. The Court has taken the Joint Stipulation under submission without oral argument.

II.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was born on July 13, 1958. [Administrative Record ("AR") at 81, 132.] He has a high school education, has received vocational training in welding, and has past relevant work experience as a welder, machine operator, night dispatcher, and manager. [AR at 35-36, 41-45, 140, 144, 168.]

On February 25, 2009, plaintiff protectively filed his applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments, alleging that he has been unable to work since February 1, 2005, due to lower back problems and anemia. [AR at 14, 81-82, 111-21, 132-34, 138-45.] After plaintiff's applications were denied initially, he requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). [AR at 83-89.] A hearing was held on August 4, 2009, at which time plaintiff appeared without counsel and testified on his own behalf. A vocational expert also testified. [AR at 24-80.] On August 27, 2009, the ALJ found plaintiff not disabled. [AR at 11-21.] When the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the hearing decision on February 16, 2010, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. [AR at 1-4.] This action followed.

III.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), this Court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision to deny benefits. The decision will be disturbed only if it is not supported by substantial evidence or if it is based upon the application of improper legal standards. Moncada v. Chater, 60 F.3d 521, 523 (9th Cir. 1995); Drouin v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 1992).

In this context, the term "substantial evidence" means "more than a mere scintilla but less than a preponderance -- it is such relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support the conclusion." Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523; see also Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257. When determining whether substantial evidence exists to support the Commissioner's decision, the Court examines the administrative record as a whole, considering adverse as well as supporting evidence. Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1257; Hammock v. Bowen, 879 F.2d 498, 501 (9th Cir. 1989). Where the evidence is susceptible to more than one rational interpretation, the Court must defer to the decision of the Commissioner. Moncada, 60 F.3d at 523; Andrews v. Shalala, 53 F.3d 1035, 1039-40 (9th Cir. 1995); Drouin, 966 F.2d at 1258.

IV.

THE EVALUATION OF ...


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